KFOX14 – Patrick Hayes

 
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Despite several attempts from lawmakers, New Mexico remains one of six states without a law penalizing strangulation.

 
Local law enforcement officials told KFOX14 they charge people accused of strangling someone with aggravated assault or aggravated battery. Both of them are felonies.

 
Still, supporters of a new law worry that those charges could be dropped to misdemeanors.

 
Pat Acosta works with victims of domestic violence and told KFOX14, “A lot of people minimize cases when victims are being choked and we don’t like to use the word choking. It’s better we use strangulation.”

 
Acosta is working on a law that would define strangulation, which is sometimes hard to prove.

 
“One of the things we know is that for victims that get abused by their partners through strangulation have an eight-time(s) lethality risk,” she said.

 
That means victims who are strangled are eight times more likely to die from domestic violence than victims who are pushed or shoved.

 
Acosta was abused by her ex-husband and said victims are usually scared to report their attackers.
Acosta said, “Victims often are being threatened, intimidated or told, ‘If you call and I get arrested, I’m going to come back and finish this.’ That is something my husband would always do.”

 
The next time a strangulation law could be proposed would be 2017 unless promoted by the governor.

 
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